By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Nigeria Army last week Wednesday 17th October, 2018, presented 13 suspects arrested in connection with missing Major General Idris Alkali (rtd) to newsmen in Jos.
The suspects were subsequently handed over to the police for further investigation
Commending the Army for respecting the rule of law by handing over the suspects to the police, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Monday charged the Inspector General of Police to ensure that justice is not only done but it must be seen to have been done.
According to the director of the human rights group, Professor Ishaq Akintola, “The police must speedily, diligently and meticulously prosecute the suspects. Not only that, the sponsors must be fished out, identified, arrested and prosecuted. Those thirteen suspects are mere pawns in the hands of powerful sponsors. They are the symptoms, not the disease. It is the sponsors who are behind the illegal smuggling of arms into Plateau State and the killing of Muslims and Fulanis.
“The blood-letting will continue even with the incarceration of these few men unless the sponsors are dealt with. There must be no sacred cows. The failure to apprehend sponsors behind the Plateau mayhem has been responsible for its continuity. Now is the time to be assertive. The investigation must be comprehensive.
“The government of Plateau State is advised to steer clear of the current investigations. We have no iota of doubt that the state government has vested interest. Many of the sponsors would have been in police net long ago but for official protection. In particular, both Jonah Jang and Joshua Dariye have demonstrated open bias. Dariye was once quoted as allegedly saying that he would make Plateau State the center of Christianity in Nigeria. This statement presupposes that Dariye turned Plateau into a Christian state and falls short of what is expected of a state governor in a multi-religious Nigeria.
“The massacre of Muslims in 2001 and the merciless killing, roasting and eating of the dead bodies of hundreds of Muslims at the Id (Salah ground) in 2011 could not have taken place without the connivance of government officials. The show of shame lasted the whole day and calls to security agents for intervention went unheeded. This proves that there was no approval for action from above.
“We strongly believe that apart from the involvement of the state government in 2011, ex-President Jonathan who was in power at that time provided illegal cover for the killers as all the security agencies failed to intervene when the killing, roasting and eating of the dead bodies continued throughout the day.
“This is why the Federal Government (FG) must show interest in the case. It is beyond the murder of an army general. The fact that other vehicles and corpses were found under the pool of death is enough to prove that the killing has been going on for years. It is time for FG to conjure the political will to deal with the situation.
“The fact that the state government may be hands in gloves with the killers or their sponsors makes it imperative for FG to intervene. Nigerian Muslims will only repose confidence in a neutral authority. FG may need to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the Plateau imbroglio and all present and past heads of security agencies must testify.
“The implications are wider and more serious and Nigerian Muslims do not lack the intellectual capacity to fully comprehend it. By waylaying travelers and killing the Fulani and Muslims among them, Berom killers have declared war on all Nigerian Muslims. There is no doubt that Muslims of all tribes have fallen victims of this barbaric act.
“So it is beyond the murder of a Muslim army general. Everything points at premeditated murder of persons belonging to the Fulani extraction and Muslims of any tribe at all. The Beroms have murdered Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Kanuri, Edo Muslims, etc. No civilized nation will stomach such atrocity and no serious central government will abdicate its responsibility in this respect.
“We therefore appeal to FG to order the draining of other ponds withing the vicinity of the Dura-Du Pond of Death because there is every reason to believe that many vehicles, decomposing bodies and skeletons of murdered Muslim travelers will still be lying under Berom ponds. Until this is done, until the capacity of Berom Christian killers to block the road and kill Muslims at will is neutralized, Nigerian Muslims from the North and South are not safe. It is the responsibility of FG to ensure our safety.
“Nigerian Muslims are prepared to live in peace with their Christian neighbours but there must be assurance that Muslims are safe to traverse the length and breadth of this great country. FG must take every necessary action to protect Muslim travelers particularly from merciless killers, terrorists and cannibals in our midst. The starting point is ensuring that the sponsors of these killers are exposed and prosecuted. Those found guilty must face the full wrath of the law.
In our closing remarks, we charge the Nigerian Police to prosecute the 13 suspects handed over by the army. We also urge the police and other security agencies to dig deeper. The sponsors of the blood-thirsty killers must be identified, arrested and prosecuted. The case goes beyond a murdered army general. It is a case of massacre, ethnic cleansing and systematic elimination of Muslim travelers over a long period. The Plateau state government is suspected of active connivance. FG must therefore intervene and ensure the protection of Muslim travelers particularly in Berom territory.